Introducing Jacey Anderson, Postdoc in Oral History and Social Justice

Jacey Anderson headshot.
Jacey Anderson

Joining Duke University on July 1, Jacey Anderson will be the inaugural Bill and Lorna Chafe Postdoctoral Fellow in Oral History and Social Justice at the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) and the Department of History.

Anderson is an environmental historian who specializes in community-based participatory research methodologies. She earned her Ph.D. in history from Montana State University earlier this year.

Anderson’s dissertation was a transnational comparative study that examined how farmers and ranchers in Montana and northeastern El Salvador successfully resisted proposed mining projects in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. She has published book chapters and journal articles in both English and Spanish with Routledge Press, “Revista Realidad” (El Salvador), and “Istmo: Revista de estudios literarios y culturales centroamericanos” (Nicaragua).

As a trained public historian, Anderson is interested in fostering dialogue between academia and the public by creating spaces for communities to explore their own pasts in order to inform their present.

During the two-year postdoctoral fellowship, Anderson will teach two courses per year. One course will be an introduction to oral history methodology and practice, and one will be structured around an oral history project, potentially in partnership with a community organization, cultural institution or history museum. She will take part in the intellectual life of CDS and the Department of History, and assist in the development of collaborative projects that link these two units and draw on the talents of Duke students.

CDS and History both have a long tradition of engagement with major oral history projects, most notably Behind the Veil: Documenting African-American Life in the Jim Crow South, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Legacy Project.

The search committee for this postdoc was chaired by Anne Whisnant (Social Science Research Institute), and included Gunther Peck (History and Public Policy) and John Biewen (Kenan Institute for Ethics).

Lorna and Bill Chafe hiking by a lake.
Lorna and Bill Chafe at Acadia National Park in Maine, 2014 (Photo: Chris Chafe)

About Bill and Lorna Chafe

In 2017, CDS was the main beneficiary of a $1 million gift to Duke from CDS cofounder and renowned historian William H. Chafe and longtime educator and social activist Lorna Chafe.

The Lorna and William Chafe Fund supports scholars and documentarians at CDS who are using oral history to address issues of social justice. Such work is central to the organizational mission envisioned more than 30 years ago by Chafe and fellow founders Robert Coles, Alex Harris and Iris Tillman Hill.

From the time they first met at an American Baptist Youth Conference in the late 1950s, the Chafes have shared a commitment to the values of social justice.